Today was a pretty epic day. I tackled something with Mr. M that I didn’t really think he had the capabilities for. And he blew me away. Completely and utterly.
Writing for Mr.M has always been scary. Pretty much anything to do with words, on paper. But more specifically, note taking and report writing, writing his own stories without someone scribing for him, and writing anything longer than one sentence by himself. Something that I was beginning to think he would never be ready for.
Mr.M has always been super sharp. He picks up anything to do with math and science, facts or figures, with ease. I wish I’d been able to do that when I was his age! He gets the math side from his father and his grandma Winter. That much is obvious. Thankfully teaching math to him and listening to Steve Demme from the Math U See video’s has really brushed me up on some earlier math concepts that I needed to work on. It’s pretty cool actually. But Mr. M just gets it.
He has always struggled with the writing side of his language arts.
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not all of the language arts, Mr.M is a super reader and always has been. He devours huge novels with ease, and though he’s in grade four he has tested at a grade 6+ reading level, which is pretty cool. But to put words down on paper, to even form letters on paper, has always been hard for him.
I’m thinking maybe he should be a doctor. With that illegible print he would fit right in! He’s gotten a bit better, but it’s obviously still pretty stressful.
He becomes very over anxious with the writing process for stories, paragraphs, even simple sentences. Lots of tears. I’ve been gently guiding him to greater things, over time. Bit by bit. Holding his hand the whole time. It’s been painful. Stressful. And for someone who can somewhat hold their own in this area, frustrating.
Let’s just say that I’ve been blessed to learn a bit more patience than I thought I would. And I’ve learned to ask for advice. That’s my silver lining, I guess. Line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little. Concepts are built from a good foundation, and I feel like over time I have been giving him that. But it’s never been fun. And I’m not going to deny that the loss of that makes me a bit sad.
This week I was feeling a bit daring and dangerous. He has been making some progress in the writing area, and I wanted to see how he would do with writing a report.
I introduced the concept gently. “Hey buddy, I was thinking about going on a trip to the museum this week. We could go together one night, just the two of us, and look at some of the native artifacts, and you could pick one that interests you. And then you could take a picture of it, and we could work together on researching and writing a report on it. It would be special because you picked it all by yourself. What do you think?”
He seemed quite exited about it, but he did not however, want to go on the field trip – the one thing I thought would draw him in.
Apparently, the unit we’ve been doing together on Canada’s Natives (using the Canada’s Natives Long Ago by Donna Ward as our basis), was exciting enough already. I’ll take him after maybe. But he did use the online gallery from the McCord Museum, and looked through the artifacts until he found a bow. Not surprising, really. After searching through, he told me he’d rather do a research paper on natives and war. I was going to tell him to be more specific, to pick something simpler, but fortunately I came to my senses.
As a complete aside – check out this pretty cool Haida art we did today. We just have to work on learning how to avoid smudging oil pastels as it really bothered Mr.M, but I thought he did an awesome job. I showed him how to put a piece of white paper underneath his hand while he works!
This is what I love about homeschooling. If your child is passionate, instead of forcing them into your mold, or societies mold, you can just let them go with it. The book told me to tell him to pick an artifact. As someone who did go to school, I often have a hard time breaking the mold. Our children need to learn to question, and to think about what they are doing. Weird, right?!
We started by talking about how we learn to take notes using the research materials we have gathered. I used a wonderful video from YouTube for this. The professor did such a great job of explaining it. Why re-invent the wheel? She teaches her students how to take Cornell notes. It’s a really effective format for note taking, and translates really well for elementary school students.
Mr. M adapted to it easily, another surprise for me, and completely blew me away. He worked on his notes all day…made goals for himself (“I promised myself I would finish to the end of this paragraph before lunch, mom”), and even went back in the evening to “edit” them. Where’s my thermometer…?! ‘Cause that was not MY child!
This is another thing that I love about homeschooling. It’s not always my children that are “schooled”. Sometimes it’s me too. This was one of those days. I learned to not pre-judge my child. Yes, I have always tried to not make him fit into a mold, but sometimes you forget that. I guess I was in need of a reminder.
I was reminded that my boys need to be given a chance. Give them the tools, and they have the opportunity to show you how amazing and wonderful they are. They often surprise me. Knowledge is power!